Residents of Jos metropolis have commended organisers of the annual January prayer and fasting programme by churches, saying it was a good way to seek the face of God for peace.
Some participants said on Thursday in Jos that the exercise was not just an annual practice but a desire to seek God’s favour, mercy, peace and guidance.
The devotional activities are coming at the time Nigeria witnessed spate of killings in some states, which drew a widespread condemnation.
But the seasonal prayer and fasting observed by Christians at the beginning of the year was to take them to greater levels of grace in the New Year.
It also involves voluntarily abstinence from food, drink or other pleasures to focus on prayer and fellowship with God.
Grace Davou, a member of Shepherd House International Assembly, Jos branch, said the exercise strengthens and guides you towards achieving your heart desires.
“When you pray and fast, you get more closer to God spiritually, while reminding God of his promises through his word to you, your career, academics, business and your household,’’ she said.
Salama Yakubu, a member of living Faith Church, said it is a spiritual relationship with God, which further bonds you as his child, cleanses your shortcomings and rejuvenates you towards meeting your life’s targets.
“No farmer would plant a seed without tilling the soil to facilitate its growth, this is also applicable to the prayer and fasting programmes, you have to prepare your soul, spirit and body for the year,” she said.
Danjuma Silas, a member of Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, said fasting also means abstaining from the things you love to have, and a personal and closer relationship with God.
“If you love surfing on the internet and you deny yourself of that, it is also fasting,
“It means sacrificing the things you love for a relationship with God while honouring him as the giver of life,” he explained.
shaku Gyang, of the Church of Christ in Nations, COCIN, however, expressed worry that some Christians perform the annual prayer and fasting programme as a trendy ritual.
According to him, conscious efforts should be made to abstain from food and other pleasure.
“When you fast only because people are fasting and you want to be part of the `trend` then I am afraid, you have abused the word.
“You have to be attuned to God, he said `seek me and you shall find, knock and the door would be opened, ask and you shall be given,’’ he explained.
Thousands of Christians have commenced praying and fasting programmes in the first week of January in different denominations.